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What, When, Where, Why, and How - The Mechanics of Bail Bonds
Everyone seems to know that bail bonds
are the standard way to get a person out of jail. And everyone seems
to know that a bail bond agent is the person who goes to the jail to
post the bond. But the real question seems to be, "What is a bail
bond?" And the answer is not exactly straightforward, but we'll try
to explain. But first let's answer the most important question,
use bail bonds to get someone out of jail?"
The answer is, "Because it's simple
and fast!" Next question? Why keep your friend or family member in
custody when you could pick up the phone, make a call, or submit
your information on our internet site and start the process? Why go
through the stress of receiving those collect calls from the person
in jail who keeps asking you, "When are you going to get me of
here?" Or here is the other question, "I need to get back to my job
before I lose it!"
Do you know that it could
take only minutes of your time to get the bond approved?
Now, let's look at this question, "What
is a bail bond and how does it work?" To help you better understand
what bail bonds are, with all the legal mumbo-jumbo, we'll elaborate
a on a few words that you hear most often and we'll include the
definitions of those words, as well.
Now here's the short response to the
first part of the question, "What is a bail bond?" A bail bond is a
paper instrument, recognized by the courts, that enables a person to
get out of jail. WHAT it says to the court is the person
(defendant), WHO is bailed out, will appear on a specific time and
date (WHEN) at a specific court, in a specific court room (WHERE).
By the way, all this information was completed and written on the
bail bond when it was posted at the jail. That's the simple part -
HOW it really works is more complex.
The Mechanics of Bail
Bonds - what's expected...
Immediately, upon writing a bail bond,
the court is guaranteed (with that bond) the defendant will appear
at all mandated times. Further, the defendant's freedom is
guaranteed while free on bond, but once a bail bond is forfeited,
the complexity arises. Why? Because, the pledge of that liability,
now jeopardized by a forfeiture1,
rests on the bail agent, or owner-agent of the bail company, who has
the financial responsibility to pay money - the full amount of that
bond, to the court. The court will present to the bail company a
formal demand for payment and the bondsman will then turn to the
signer - called the indemnitor2,
It's Getting More
Involved - read on...
What becomes most interesting, at this
point, is the unique position given the bail bondsman upon the
initial writing of a bail bond. As soon as the defendant is released
from jail the transfer of jurisdiction changes. The jail no longer
has authority over the individual - he or she is technically the
property of the bail bondsman. The bail agent or bondsman now has
legal authority over that defendant, which is important should a
forfeiture of the bond occur. The bondsman has the right to arrest,
detain or employ a bounty hunter and ultimately bring that person
back to jail to protect against monetary loss caused by the
Why ask for collateral?
When a bail bondsman asks for
collateral or some form of security it is a precautionary measure,
because of the potential liability the bail agent may incur - as in
forfeiture. When the bail agent asks for security, either with a
good signer, termed indemnitor, it is to protect against losses by
parties and to ensure the completion or exoneration4
of the bond. There are three parties, or concerned individuals,
involved in a single bail bond: the bail bondsman, the indemnitor
(or signer), and the defendant. All those involved have serious
concerns about freedom and financial debt. The defendant's
appearance in court has oversight from three separate and individual
parties. As you can see, the complexity of a bail bond deepens.
Now let's kick it up a
notch - here's the real nitty gritty of bail
There are more parties involved. How
about an insurance company that underwrites the bond? Yes, you
guessed it - a bail bonds is like an insurance policy. First, the
bail bond is a paper instrument that gives one their freedom. When
it is presented to the courts, it is almost like a check that needs
to be insured for its full value. When the bail bond is forfeited,
it becomes a 'bad check' that needs to be paid or collected. And
usually when people write checks they are written in good faith and
have money in the bank to cover the check. The bank in turn insures
your money that it is holding. As we all know, a check only becomes
a bad check when there is no money. The similarity applies to bail.
When bail bonds are forfeited, they need to be paid. If the signer
can't pay and the bondman can't pay then the insurance company is
asked or demanded to pay the court.
So let's review the sequence of financial
liability. It first begins with the signer, the second in line is
the bail bondsman and the last to hold financial responsibility to
the court is the insurance company. Of course, there are more safety
measures in place, but the analysis presented is sufficient for this
Further, losses and forfeitures can be
contested and litigated through the courts, attorneys get involved
and the cost of the original bail bond escalates and the financial
responsibility of the signers rise. It is a tricky equation to
balance every defendant who is out on bond with a bail bond company,
to make sure that forfeitures are few, and to continue making the
best decision on future bonds.
The biggest concern of all bail bondsman,
as well as the signers for all defendants is, "Will this person go
to court and therefore, not cause a forfeiture to take place?" Glossary
1Forfeiture - Something that
is taken away or given up as a penalty for breaking a law or
2Indemnitor - A person or
company that covers or ensures against loss or penalty.
3Indemnifying - The act of
securing or protecting against loss or penalty.
- To declare free of all blame and penalties.